By Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin MA
Director: Jewish Professionals Institute www.jpi.org
A few recent articles published on MATZAV.com have zeroed in on one type of “red tape” situation in the American Torah world that many feel is causing a “blockage” in the over-all world of shidduchim.
It is known by a nickname, meaning a type of “lockdown” that is expected of some talmidim.
The authorities have instituted this required delay in allowing their students to date in order to avoid the disruption of having hundreds of bochurim going on shidduch dates to the detriment of the orderliness required in the Yeshiva’s Bais Medrash.
This lockdown period lasting a few months from the time the bochurim return form learning Torah at yeshivos in Israel is also meant to help the students adjust from the type of hardier environment they lived in while away from home living in far of dormitories on the other side of the world mostly in the Yerushalayim area.
The lockdown time is useful then in reacclimating the students to life back in America where they and their families will also soon turn their attention to the arduous task of hopefully finding great shidduchim with wonderful bnos Yisroel who are eager to date and marry the fresh crops of bochurim who are released from the confines of the lockdown when they begin to officially date in full force once the lockdown-blockade is lifted after a few months.
This is the basic technical clinical picture of this unique phenomenon. To be sure, this time of lockdown is not applied by all yeshivos. In Brooklyn yeshivos, it is not used or spoken about, unless parents and families themselves decide to utilize a time for re-acclimating their sons and daughters when they return from the year or two of Torah learning in Israel.
Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs in the New York City area do not have this system of freezing-locking down or formally and officially restricting or structuring when their dating-age students may or may not go out on shidduch dates. But some larger yeshivos in New Jersey do require adherence to this rule and few students and their families are willing to buck that system in those places.
But according to the strong response from readers and the frum public affected by this lockdown of dating age gochurim, there is frustration that it causes painful delays and harms the natural flow of seeking a spouse in the Torah world.
There are other types of red tape that have added layers of bureaucracy stifling the natural flow of human interactions by the over-formalized and structured methods that have crept into the dating process in American chareidi circles.
The shidduch resume has become both a useful tool to “see and be seen” so to speak, while it has also created layers of “paperwork” of writing, typing, mailing, faxing, emailing, to multiple shadchanim, to both friends and strangers, that drives parents of dating age boys and girls crazy. Gone are the days of word of mouth for most people. Now not only is a shidduch resume a must, but flattering photos must be attached.
Another form of red tape is the list of expectations required of many families before anyone will go out with their sons or daughters.
Parents of girls must prove how they will support for “ten years.” Some parents are required to provide “life-support forever.”
Girls are expected to be “skinny, thin and pretty,” creating a proverbial straitjacket because not every female can meet these expectations. So frum girls are subjected to this type of red tape, as they try to starve and fashion themselves into looking just right for Mr. Right.
These are not my personal points, but they are examples of the type of menacing red tape and unnatural blockages that people complain about all the time, and that stops people from having normal communications and human expectations and interactions to be able to connect with each other without being weighed down by all sorts of extrinsically imposed artificial stoppages of the natural flow that the shidduch process should take on for itself to avoid contributing to the converse, the notorious shidduch Crisis.
To be continued…